EARTH Scholars at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. ©

Cameron Brisbane

This year, British Council Scotland and the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) are once again offering the EARTH Scholarships, an innovative programme awarded to PhD and Early Career Researchers from around the world.

Now open for applications from around the world, the EARTH Scholarships will see global participants coming together alongside Scotland-based scholars to network and collaborate. The Scholarships showcase the vital role that arts and culture can play in addressing the climate emergency, addressing climate change from a new angle, drawing on the expertise of organisations and Universities in offering international opportunities for research in the arts, climate, and sustainability.

Building on the legacy of the British Council’s Climate Connection programme, the EARTH Scholarships recognise the importance of the climate emergency through cross-disciplinary research in science, arts, and humanities..

Projects completed by the 2023 cohort have ranged from exploring eco-archaeology through studying myth and folklore, marine governance and performance art, to the history of social movements and climate justice. The scholars worked in three clusters, through research placements and training – connecting with Scotland-based PhD researchers, as well as industry and community partners.

Speaking about their research here in Scotland, two EARTH Scholars who conducted research at the Edinburgh Futures Institute and the University of the Highlands and Islands told us a bit about their time here:

Camellia Biswas is a doctoral researcher in Humanities and Social Sciences based at the Indian Institute of Technology in Gandhinagar, India. During her EARTH scholarship exchange she visited and worked in collaboration with the University of the Highlands & Islands (UHI).

Speaking about her scholarship, she said:

“I discovered this scholarship through the British Council newsletter, and the project helped my development as an early career research fellow. My work is multi-disciplinary, and I used concepts across GIS, zooarchaeology, history, and political-ecology, along with local engagement, to study seals, humans, and conservation politics, - all through the lens of deep time and the implications for climate change.

“In Scotland I built relationships with other PhD scholars across environmental arts and humanities, and the programme enriched my understanding of STEAM education in Scotland, and I hope to bring some of these learnings to apply in India”.

Meanwhile, Marianna Fernandes Cavadini is a first-year doctoral researcher based at the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Switzerland. During her time in Scotland, Marianna was at the Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI), University of Edinburgh. She worked to analyse the cultural and environmental implications of using digital technologies in mining sites to mitigate climate change.

She said: “I applied for the EARTH scholarship because of its focus on the Environmental Humanities in Scotland. This was a great opportunity to study with the Edinburgh Futures Institute, which is a knowledge hub for people like me who are working on issues at the intersection of environmental studies and digital technology. Beyond contributing to my ongoing Ph.D. work on the development of technologies in the mining industry, the scholarship promoted enriching dialogues and collaborations between me, my mentor, and other Scotland-based scholars”. 

SGSAH is the world’s first national graduate school in the Arts and Humanities. Established in 2014, SGSAH provides training and support to doctoral researchers across Scotland. An integral part of Scottish, UK and international civil society, SGSAH works in the arts, culture, creative and heritage sectors, supporting positive connections locally, regionally, and globally to provide outstanding opportunities for doctoral researchers in Scotland.

Working in Scotland since 1946 at the forefront of education and culture, a key part of the British Council’s work is supporting universities in Scotland to internationalise their offer. Over the last eighteen months, the British Council has delivered the Climate Connection, a global platform that has helped build climate cooperation through arts, culture and education.

Read about all thirteen EARTH Scholarship recipients for the 2023 cohort here and find about their research and experiences.